Let's pretend a moment that Bashar al-Assad of Syria is like a rebellious teenage son. Who is the parent of the child that should discipline him? Is the United Nations the parent? What if the parent has rebellious thoughts of their own, how can the child be disciplined? (I am referring to China and Russia as part of the Security Council.) How do you discipline a leader any how? Most economic sanctions hurt the populace and not the leadership, so the innocent pay the price for the sins of the leader.
What a messy situation! What is one to do? What is one's goal? I believe that is what President Obama needs to determine.
I believe reconciliation needs to be the ultimate goal. Somehow, our nation and others need to work to bring oneness to all the divisiveness with each party. Each group in the Syrian conflict not only needs to value and honor each other, but they also need to learn to work together. Reconciliation- the changing of enemies to friends, even with different beliefs- should be the ultimate goal. But how does one get there?
I recently watched the old version of Karate Kid II. Mr. Miyagi, the karate mentor, made an interesting statement to Daniel his student, "Never end war by becoming part of one." The Bible has a verse which says something similar, "Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:18 NIV)" In other words, if you want to bring peace to a conflict, the method of doing so has to be peaceful. In the words of Jesus, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. (Matthew 26:52 NIV)" Thus, our response needs to be one of promoting peace.
Let me add one or two other thoughts. If a husband or wife are in conflict, do you bring peace by choosing one side or the other? No. You only intensify the conflict. President Obama will only intensify the conflict if he chooses sides and if he militarily gets involved. Obviously, he already has chosen sides- the Syrian rebels, and it will get even more messy if he responds with force. Also, President Obama has already stated that we need to protect our own interests. If that is our goal, that will be hard to mediate reconciliation. It's never good to have a negotiator between two parties actively pursuing their own goals in the conflict.
So, what does one do? Pray first and foremost. Then, seek ways to bring reconciliation. Keep President Obama and our leaders in prayer. They need divine wisdom to work their way through this maze.